Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal termed Wednesday as a red letter day for the state given the number of MoUs signed in the Progressive Punjab Summit but told investors that these should be memorandums of commitment rather than that of mere understanding.
“It would be better if we were to change the term to ‘Memorandum of Commitment’ so that the public will also know that it is not an ordinary understanding but a firm commitment,” the chief minister said. In a speech laced with wit, Badal also lavished praise on his son, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, saying he had put in hard work to ensure that the summit was a success.
“The Deputy CM has left nothing for me to say. These days sons do not leave anything for their father. I congratulate him,” he said.
The CM told the gathered industrialists that the state would do anything they want to facilitate their ventures, which he added was like offering a kind of blank cheque to them. “We are not sitting at a summit; we are sitting like family members,” he said.
Badal also said agriculture was reaching a saturation point in Punjab and hence diversification had become mandatory for farmers. He added that in order to diversify, skill development was a important requirement and said there are young capable men who are unemployed in villages.
The chief minister further said that despite various obstacles like 15 years of militancy and tax concessions to neighbouring states like Uttarakhand and Himachal, Punjab has stayed competitive.
“There is no grudge but steps which affect others should not be taken. Our industry fled but with the spirit of enterprise and leadership qualities, Punjab has risen and is number one in many spheres,” Badal said.
Referring to Sukhbir Badal’s announcement of waiver of tax for the agro-processing industry, Badal said to all-round laughter: “I don’t know if you have done it out of threat from your wife or from your heart,”. He was referring to Union Minister for Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who was also present in the summit.